February 1, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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The Midnight Club “The Final Chapter”

Episode One

Alright, another Mike Flanagan horror mini-series on Netflix.  Yeah, this one is aimed at a more YA audience, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good.

Wait, hold on…the first episode is titled “The Final Chapter”?  How odd…

Set in the 90s, this is the story of high school student Ilonka.  She’s bright, ready for college, and currently being raised by her stepfather Tim.  Where’s her mother?  It’s implied she died, but that may not be that important right now.  See, Ilonka sneaks out to a college party, but then she starts coughing up blood.  Not the sort of thing you wanna do to impress a guy.  A few tests later, and it turns out she had thyroid cancer.  Oh, and it’s gonna kill her.

Is that why she sees eyeless ghosts?

Regardless, Ilonka finds out about a hospice for teenagers like her that are dying.  It’s remote, has a giant library, and is run by Dr. Georgina Stanton.  Dr. Stanton is played by Heather Langenkamp, so already this story has some good horror credentials in front of and behind the camera.  Considering this may be the first Flanagan thing I have seen that doesn’t include his wife Kate Siegel in the cast, that may be saying something as the majority of the cast are young actors I don’t think I have ever seen before.

Yes, that would be the Midnight Club, a group of teens who are all dying and meet in the library late at night to swap scary stories.  Since this is TV, that means the show can dramatize those stories, starting with one that features so many jump scares in quick succession that, while the first one did more or less work (director Flanagan does know basically what he’s doing there), but then there’s so many it becomes more of a joke than a jump.

Then Ilonka shares hers, the story of a young woman like themselves who went to the hospice in the 60s but somehow completely recovered from her cancer.  But then she spouted off some seemingly random numbers at two other patients and an orderly and somehow predicted their deaths.

So, that’s the premise.  There are some spooky eyeless ghosts Ilonka keeps spotting, and one of them was that chain-smoking jerk from The X-Files.  The Midnight Club all make a promise to contact the others from the other side if they die, but despite the fact the Club has been meeting for who knows how long, no one seems to have done that yet.

Oh, and Ilonka tells her new pal Kevin that her story wasn’t entirely fictional.

OK, let’s see where this goes from here.  Hopefully not with a lot of teenagers suddenly dying.

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